Here's a life lesson - when life gives you a big second chance, try not to blow it. In Texas, 49-year-old Carol Denise Richardson was among hundreds of non-violent drug offenders granted clemency by former President Obama, who was persuaded by arguments from activists that drug laws were unfair. Richardson was found in possession of solid crack cocaine - in her case 50 grams - and suffered unduly harsh sentences compared with those possessing powder cocaine, which weighs less and carries a lighter penalty. Richardson had served 10 years in prison when she was released in July 2016 as part of the largest prisoner release in US history. But she's back in prison after being arrested for theft on April 13. Defense lawyer Mark Diaz says Richardson stole $60 worth of laundry detergent that she planned to sell to buy drugs. The same federal judge who sent Richardson to prison in 2006 rejected her lawyer's plea for rehab last week, ordering Richardson back to the slammer for 14 months, followed by five years of supervised release. Assistant US Attorney Ted Imperato said,"This defendant was literally given a second chance to become a productive member of society and has wasted it." A drug offenders advocacy group counters that Richardson was never treated for her drug problem, saying, "the system has failed Carol, yet again." (Washington Post)
Big Funding Leaves New York Theater Over Trump Play
Just because you exercise your right to free speech doesn't mean sponsors have to pay for it. Both Delta Air Lines and Bank of America have pulled six-figure sponsorships from New York's Public Theater over its revamped production of Julius Caesar. In the "reimagined" play, Caesar is a President Trump lookalike who is ultimately stabbed to death by a group of women and minorities. In the play "Caesar" puts a hand on the crotch of his Slavic wife, picks on a "reporter" planted in the audience, posts to social media and bathes in a golden bathtub. The play opened yesterday in Central Park, having been in previews since May 23. Criticism has been building but the flood gates opened on Sunday after coverage by Fox News. Donald Trump Jr. retweeted a Fox link Sunday morning, adding the comment: "I wonder how much of this 'art' is funded by taxpayers? Serious question, when does 'art' become political speech & does that change things?" Four-year sponsor Delta backed out first, saying the "artistic and creative direction crossed the line on the standards of good taste." Reportedly its support was worth $100,000 to $499,000 a year. Eleven-year backer Bank of America exited next, saying in part, "Had this intention [to provoke and offend] been made known to us, we would have decided not to sponsor it." (Newser)
Everyone Has a Doppelgänger
"Everybody has a doppelgänger. Luckily we found his," says the lawyer for Richard Jones who has been freed from prison after serving 17 years for a crime he always insisted he didn't commit. Jones was released by a Kansas judge after lawyers presented evidence that there is another man who bears an uncanny resemblance to him and that witnesses could not tell the two of them apart. There was never any physical evidence linking Jones to the 1999 robbery he was sent to prison for. Jones' girlfriend and family members backed up his alibi, but he was convicted after witnesses, including the robbery victim, identified him. The victim testified last week that she can no longer be certain Jones was the robber. Jones found out about his doppelganger from fellow inmates who told him there was another inmate who looked just like him and had the same first name. No criminal case has been filed yet against the other man, who, unlike Jones, lived near the scene of the crime. Jones was released with the help of the Midwest Innocence Project. Kansas has no law compensating victims of wrongful conviction, but a GoFundMe page has been set up to support his return to society. (Kansas City Star)
Will Puerto Rico Become the 51st State?
Well it seems 97% of voters who live in Puerto Rico are ready to become a state. The island, a US territory since 1898, held a non-binding referendum on becoming the 51st state and 97% of voters said yes! The White House declined to comment on the vote but statehood supporters including Gov. Ricardo Rossello say it is absurd for the US to encourage democracy abroad and reject it for the American citizens of Puerto Rico, though some Puerto Ricans doubt the administration will welcome a new state that would be the poorest in the US by far. As it stands, Puerto Ricans can't vote in presidential elections and their only representative in Congress has limited powers, but the island is planning to implement the statehood plan that worked for Tennessee in 1796. The governor will appoint two senators and five representatives who will go to Washington, DC, and demand to be seated. (New York Times)
Golf Cart and Wine Glass Prove Deadly Combination
A freak accident involving a golf cart and wine glasses claimed the life of 58-year-old Debra Bedard in California. Bedard and her longtime partner, 57-year-old Richard Clarke, were cruising though their private olive orchard at their vacation home southeast of Sacramento in a golf cart. Police say Clarke was driving while "intoxicated," made a left turn, and Bedard fell from the cart. The two wine glasses she was holding shattered in the fall, and she landed on the glass shards. She died of her injuries at the scene. Clarke was arrested on suspicion of misdemeanor DUI, though a California Highway Patrol rep says "he didn't really cause the (accident), but rather made a turn that caused her to lose balance." A coroner's report will determine if she was under the influence. The couple had been together 17 years and were "each other's everything," according to Bedard's son, Steve. The pair often enjoyed riding through the orchard "just to check things out and enjoy the serenity of the property." He also called Clarke "one of the most together, responsible men" and said he understands "completely ... how this happened. It was not an irresponsible act but just the worst kind of tragedy." (Mercury News)
Guess Who Moved Into the White House?
For the first time since the inauguration, The Trump family is now under the same roof and, for the first time since John F. Kennedy Jr. in 1963, there's a boy living in the White House: Barron Trump and mom Melania moved in on Sunday evening. They stayed in New York City for months after President Trump's inauguration so the 11-year-old could finish the school year in New York City. Melania tweeted, "Looking forward to the memories we'll make in our new home." Melania and Barron's move to the White House is expected to make life easier for the Secret Service and law enforcement in New York City, where the extra protection at Trump Tower cost the city around $1 million a day. Melania, meanwhile - who has higher approval ratings than her husband - is expected to adopt a higher public profile and find a cause to support now that she is a full-time DC resident. (Telegraph)
President Trump: Wedding Crasher
He wasn't invited, but that didn't stop President Trump from dropping in on a wedding at his New Jersey club, to the delight of the guests. CNN Video shows the president walking into the reception Saturday at 10:30pm, at the Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster - the so-called summer White House - where he was spending the weekend. As guests cheered and clapped, bride Kristen Piatkowski scurries over and links hands with the "Crasher-in-Chief," who gave her a kiss. Guests snapped photos and hollered "USA" as Trump waves and shakes hands. Trump signed "Make America Great Again" hats and posed for photos with Piatkowski and groom Tucker Gladhill, which guests posted all over social media. The newlyweds were unaware of the presidential drop-in until moments earlier, when Secret Service agents made a sweep to ensure the president wouldn't get mobbed. (CNN)
What the What?
A video shoot on Detroit's west side ended after police arrived and fired shots, believing they were breaking up a real armed robbery. They had responded to a 911 call of a reported robbery, conducted out of a black Jeep with no doors. When officers arrived they saw a man getting out of a black Jeep with no doors and "running up to an Aston Martin vehicle," said Officer Dan Donakowski, a Detroit Police Department spokesman. "The subject appeared to be armed and appeared to be robbing the Aston Martin." When officers approached, a man turned toward the cops, holding what appeared to be a weapon. An officer "fired three shots, but none took effect," Donakowski said. Turns out the suspects were simply shooting a video but had not notified authorities and had not obtained proper permits or a license to do so. (Detroit News)